I admit it. I’m a reformed tree fluffer.
Now you might ask yourself what exactly is that. Am I someone who can’t pass a garden without propping up the leaves on a withering tree? Watering the drooping elms?
Actually, it’s none of these. Turns out a tree fluffer is a legitimate job. Around September you’ll start seeing those Christmas trees making their appearance in the aisles of the big box stores. And if you’ve ever unpacked an artificial tree, you know how unlike a tree it looks when you first remove it from the box. Well, it is the job of a tree fluffer to unbend those branches, pull up the stems, separate the branches and well, fluff the trees.
Why am I reformed? Well, at first, I was quite enthusiastic walking into the first Home Depot store—that is, until I saw the line of 20+ trees awaiting their new coifs. OK, I can do this. After all, I love working with plants and of course, I love Christmas. I rolled up my sleeves which turned out to be a mistake. Those wired branches don’t bode well on bare skin. So down they went. I’ll start with the smaller ones first I thought—they don’t look too intimidating. OK, that went pretty well and I got those done in record time. But tucked back behind the reasonably-sized trees were those for families that obviously have too much ceiling space. 7+ foot tall faux firs, balsams and pines towered over me and I wondered how on earth I was going to fluff these giants. Well, said the store manager, you see that big orange ladder? Yes, I replied. Just wheel it over, he said. So I looked up and it must have been over 10 feet tall, casting a looming shadow not only over me, but the trees as well. Oh my! Climb up a ladder and lean over to fluff thousands of individual branches?This was looking daunting. But I took the job, so I persevered. The manager had to sign off before I could get my form, so I could submit it for payment. Uh, can you re-fluff the top of that tree a little more? It looks a little squished, he said. Oh no, back on that formidable ladder? I still couldn’t reach it. SO off I went looking for someone tall enough to remove the top, let me fluff it, then put it back where it belonged. I pulled and opened up and fluffed those branches until the entire display looked like a veritable forest.
In about a week, I got the check. OK, maybe tree-fluffing isn’t for me. A short-lived career, I returned to my keyboard to write. And well, here we are. For better experiences with greenery, take a look at The Upside-Down Gardener.